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Taking Command Newsletter

State Issues May 2022

Here are some highlights of state-level issues AKC GR is currently tracking.

Arizona – House Bill 2323 states that for the purposes of homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, the breed of dog may not be the sole consideration for underwriting or determining risk or loss, questionnaires or surveys regarding the presence of a dog on the premises, or findings that a dog is dangerous for the purpose of providing insurance coverage.  AKC worked with the sponsor and a broad range of stakeholders to protect responsible dog owners in the state who are seeking to obtain insurance.  AKC believes this is a good first step to protecting the rights of dog owners seeking home or renter’s insurance in the state.  The bill was signed by the governor.  Read more.

ArizonaHouse Bill 2626 would require shelters to scan for a microchip when obtaining an animal and make reasonable efforts to locate the owner.  The bill also amends several other requirements for animal shelters.  HB 2626 was signed by the governor.

California – AB 1881 as introduced established a “Dog and Cat Bill of Rights”.  While the bill only required that the list be posted at shelters and rescues, AKC joined many organizations in expressing significant concerns about putting “rights” of animals in law and the implications this has for changing the legal status of animals in the state.  The Assembly Business and Professions Committee amended the bill on April 26 to remove all references to the word “rights” in the actual code text.  Instead, while the author may call it the “dog and cat bill of rights”, the actual chapter will now be called “Dog and Cat Welfare”.  The amendments also clarify that the purpose is solely for education. AB 1881 passed Assembly Appropriations Committee on May 11.  It is pending consideration by the full Assembly.  Read more.

California – AB 1901 as introduced would have regulated all trainers in the state as boarding kennels, regardless of whether dogs are kept overnight.  AKC, dog trainers, clubs, and many others expressed opposition to this proposal and worked to educate the committee and author of the many problems should this bill pass.  As such, the author agreed to remove all the requirements and instead require certain disclosures when a trainer starts with a new client.  This includes providing the goals of the class, training philosophy, and whether or not the trainer is certified.  It does not mandate that a trainer be certified in order to teach classes.  The bill passed the Assembly and is pending in the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee.  Read more.

California – AB 1781 would regulate shelters and rescues transporting animals.  It would require them to ensure that transport vehicles protect a dog’s health and safety.  The bill unanimously passed the Assembly on May 2 and has been assigned to the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee.

California  AB 2723 would amend current law regarding microchipping when a dog is adopted from a local shelter.  As amended by the Assembly Business and Professions Committee, when a shelter or rescue transfers ownership of a dog, they must provide information including microchip company information, if the dog has a current microchip number, and any other information needed so the new owner can register themselves as the primary contact on the microchip.  In addition, before transferring or selling a dog, the shelter or rescue much document and keep records of all efforts made to contact the microchip’s primary contact, if the dog is microchipped.   The bill passed the Assembly on May 19 and is pending committee assignment in the Senate. 

California  AB 2380 would prohibit a person from obtaining a loan in order to purchase a dog or cat if the loan is offered, arranged, or facilitated by a merchant or retailer.  The bill passed the Assembly and is pending committee assignment in the Senate. 

California  SB 971 as amended requires that public housing financed by the state allow residents to own or maintain “common household pets”.  A refundable deposit may be required, but landlords may not require a monthly fee to keep the animal.  Considerations may be made to limit the number of animals based on the unit’s size and prohibitions on potentially dangerous or vicious dogs.  The landlord may not place restrictions based on an animal’s size or weight, but may have leashing, nuisance or liability insurance requirements.  The bill has passed the Senate Housing and Appropriations Committees and is pending consideration by the full Senate.

Connecticut  HB 5170 would establish requirements for the adequate sheltering of dogs and add additional requirements concerning the tethering of dogs.  After a public hearing by the Joint Planning and Development Committee on February 25, the committee amended HB 5170 to prevent dogs from being left outside without shelter for more than 15 minutes after a National Weather Service advisory is issued, unless accompanied by a person.  The House passed the bill on April 29 and the Senate approved the bill as amended by the House on May 3.  The Governor signed it on May 10, as Public Act 22-59.

Connecticut – SB 141 would amend the animal cruelty statute by elevating the intentional injury of any animal while in the performance of its duties under the supervision of law enforcement, or any dog performing for a volunteer search and rescue team, to a class C felony.  Current law classifies the killing of these animals as a class C felony, but intentional injury is only classified as Class D, the least serious type of felony. AKC GR submitted testimony to the Joint Public Safety and Security Committee on March 3, supporting SB 141 for its potential to deter harm to these working dogs.  The bill was voted favorably and sent to the Judiciary Committee.  SB 141 failed when the session adjourned on May 4.

Connecticut – SB 234 would make significant changes to kennel and dog licensing laws.  AKC GR understands the intent of the changes are to update and modernize processes, but issued an alert outlining concerns with the bill and expressed them at the Joint Environment Committee public hearing on March 7, 2022. In response, the committee chose not to advance SB 234 but, amended HB 5295 to establish a working group at the Department of Agriculture to address concerns raised at the public hearing.  AKC GR has been invited to participate and issued the following update. HB 5295 passed the House and the Senate before it was signed into law on May 10 as Public Act 22-54.

Connecticut – HB 5232 “Concerning Service Animals” is supported by AKC GR because it would update Connecticut’s laws to ensure its terms and definitions are consistent with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.  The bill is a reflection of work done by a 2019 workgroup that AKC GR participated in. The committee voted it favorably and the House passed it April 19. The Senate then sent HB 5232 to the Human Services Committee and the bill failed sine die when the session adjourned on May 4.

Connecticut – Among other provisions, HB 5498 would designate the shelter pet as Connecticut’s state pet.  AKC GR posted information about the bill’s hearing on March 25.  After hearing support and opposition to this provision, the Joint Government Administration and Elections Committee voted to place HB 5498 on the House consent calendar where it passed on April 28. The Senate did not take action on the bill prior to adjournment of the legislative session and the bill failed sine die on May 4.

Delaware – Senate Bill 248 as introduced would have provided for damages of up to $15,000 in veterinary bills for injuries to a pet, the fair market value of a deceased pet, and up to $15,000 for emotional trauma (non-economic damages) suffered by the pet’s owner. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the bill on May 4 and the sponsor, Senator Ernesto Lopez, requested that the bill be passed out so further discussions with stakeholders could be held.  The Committee did not move the bill.  Instead, Senator Lopez offered a substitute version that removed the non-economic damages language as well as the dollar limit recoverable for compensatory damages.  The substitute version was approved by the Committee.  AKC has thanked Senator Lopez for the substitute and will continue to monitor the bill.

Florida  SB 226/HB 25 seek to establish funding for the care of retired law enforcement dogs. AKC GR supports this legislation. SB 226 passed in both houses and awaits action by the governor.

Florida – SB 620, which is supported by AKC, enacts the “Local Business Protection Act.” It authorizes certain businesses to claim damages from a county or municipality that enacts or amends certain ordinances that damage the profits of the business. This potentially provides recourse for some animal-related businesses that, subsequent to the passage of the bill, can document a 15 percent income loss that resulted from the enactment of local laws. SB 620 passed in both houses and awaits action by the governor.

Hawaii AKC GR expressed deep concerns with the overly broad language in House Bill 1715, which sought to limit civil and criminal liability for individuals who remove unattended animals from motor vehicles that are in physical danger.  The bill failed to progress beyond second reading in the House before the legislature adjourned on May 5, 2022.

Hawaii – AKC GR supported House Bill 2319, which seeks to require the Hawai’i Department of Agriculture be responsible for all inspection permit fees for service animals that arrive on islands other than Oahu.  An amended HB 2319 passed two policy committees and was assigned to House Finance for further consideration. The bill was not further considered before the legislature adjourned.

Hawaii – AKC GR monitored over 30 bills that were introduced during the 2022 regular session of the Hawaii legislature.  Click here to view a summary report on those bills

Kentucky  HB 20 sought to redefine torture of a dog or cat and provide for penalties. A Committee Substitute that favorably clarified the bill passed in the House Judiciary Committee, and a floor amendment to further clarify the bill was filed. The bill failed when the legislature adjourned.

Kentucky HB 71, among other provisions, sought to allow any agency that seizes an animal to petition the court to require the owner to pay the anticipated costs related to seizure and care of the animal, or forfeit the animal. The provisions of the bill would encompass any alleged violation of any state or local animal ordinance. HB 71 died in the House Committee on Committees (See related bill, SB 125).

Kentucky – HB 180 addressed civil liability immunity for damaging a vehicle when releasing pets in danger. AKC GR discussed amendments to strengthen the bill regarding the safe care of a dog after it was released from a vehicle. HB 180 died in the House Committee on Committees.

Kentucky  SB 125 sought to amend animal cruelty law and require owners of animals confiscated in conjunction with charges against the owner or caretaker to pay costs of impoundment for the animals, even if found not guilty or if charges are dropped. The provisions of the bill would have encompassed any alleged violation of any state or local animal ordinance. The bill was amended to exclude livestock animals and passed in the Senate. An additional proposed amendment supported by AKC was not adopted. SB 125 died in the House Committee on Committees.

Kentucky  SB 128 sought to designate the Treeing Walker Coonhound as the official state dog. It died in Senate Licensing & Occupations Committee.

Louisiana SR 57 requests that parishes, municipalities, local governing authorities, and animal shelters adopt policies and programs prior to December 31, 2025, that provide alternatives to euthanizing healthy dogs and cats. This resolution has been adopted in the Senate.

Louisiana HB 607, as introduced, sought to increase penalties for simple cruelty to animals and allow a court to order the offender to pay expenses for medical treatment of the animal. AKC submitted a letter of concern with the bill, which was amended to remove the proposed minimum penalties and to add that a court may order the offender to pay for the housing and medical treatment of the animal pursuant to an existing law that provides for restitution. The amended bill passed in the House and was reported favorably in the Senate Judiciary C Committee.

Louisiana – HB 842, among other provisions, seeks to extend immunities to a veterinarian or veterinary technician who releases confidential records or participates in any investigation of acts prohibited by law. AKC GR expressed concerns that the bill, as introduced, was overly broad and submitted recommended amendments. Most of the amendments proposed by AKC were adopted, the amended bill passed in both chambers, and was enrolled by the Speaker of the House on May 12.

Maine – LD 1885 “An Act to Increase Maine’s Veterinary Workforce” would expand a loan program to increase the veterinary workforce in the state.  AKC GR and the Maine Federation of Dog Clubs support this initiative. A public hearing by the Committee on Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business was held and the committee made minor changes to bill.  AKC GR has submitted a letter of support for LD 1885, as amended, and issued an alert encouraging emails in support of passage before the session closed on April 20, 2022.  The bill was pared back to add just one additional loan for a veterinarian who commits to practicing critical care and emergency services, but increased the yearly loan amounts from $25,000 to $35,000 per student per year up to four years before passage.  Governor Janet Mills signed it as Chapter 725 of the Acts of 2022 on May 3.

Massachusetts – Despite AKC GR testimony in opposition to SB 1322, the bill has been released favorably again this session from the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government and sent to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.  Among other restrictions, the bill would allow municipal animal control officers to tell residents how many dogs or cats they can own after an inspection of their premises upon kennel license application.

Massachusetts  SB 2397 would prohibit the misrepresentation of a service animal.  AKC GR submitted testimony in support to the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs for the public hearing. The bill was reported favorably by committee and referred to the committee on Senate Ways and Means.

Massachusetts  The Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture heard testimony on three bills to protect research animals, allowing adoption after health examination upon retiring from research activities. AKC GR supported HB 901 and HB 966, but noted that definitions for animal shelter and rescue in the bill were inconsistent with current law. The committee advanced the bill favorably.  HB 901 is on the House calendar for consideration and AKC GR has highlighted the inconsistency with House leaders.

Massachusetts SB 551 would create an advisory board, with a shelter and rescue coordinator serving as chair, to oversee various functions of the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. AKC GR expressed concerns to the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, noting that a formal advisory board with permanent members chaired by a shelter and rescue coordinator is not necessary for the state agency to function effectively. The bill advanced favorably from committee and is in the Senate Rules Committee waiting for placement on the Senate calendar.

Massachusetts  SB 2672 was released favorably by the Joint Judiciary Committee as a re-write of nine bills. AKC GR issued an alert summarizing before testifying at the May 19, 2021, public hearing.  The bill would insert domestic animals and livestock into the civil fine structure for lack of adequate shelter or sanitation for dogs. Civil fines collected would be forwarded to the Homeless Fund that provides money for ACO training and the state spay/neuter program. It also provides the court with great latitude in deciding how long the offender will be prohibited from owning animals, including exceptions if an offender can prove they are capable of caring for animals or have sought required counseling.  AKC GR is monitoring this bill.

Massachusetts  HB 4700 was introduced by the House Ways and Means Committee as the proposed state budget and more than 1,500 amendments were filed for consideration.  Amendment #294 would have established an animal abuser registry with requirements easily evaded and serious penalties for transferring an animal to anyone listed.  AKC submitted a letter expressing concerns with the text and the amendment was subsequently withdrawn by the sponsor.

Michigan – House Bills 4703 and 4704 address the issue of animals being seized, and the payment of their care during impoundment.  As introduced, the bills amend current law and clarify that the owner or possessor may request a hearing within 14 days to determine if the requirement to pay is justified and the cost is fair and reasonable.  AKC issued an alert and drafted a letter to the committee expressing concerns with the underlying law.  Numerous amendments were adopted by the House, including allowing the court to consider the ability of the defendant to pay and ensuring that if the owner is found not guilty, then the animals must be returned.  However, it is unclear if this provision applies if a payment is missed during the trial. The bills have passed the House and are pending in the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee.

Minnesota – House File 208 seeks to create a Companion Animal Board as the primary authority for regulating companion animals.  The Board will be given broad powers to regulate animal welfare in the state.  Although it requires that one “member must be a companion animal breeder”, the rest of the Board would be comprised of 12 members, most of whom will not have the level of animal husbandry expertise and experience of breeders and sportsmen, nor will they be directly impacted by the Board’s actions.  The AKC has expressed opposition to the bill. Click here for more information.  The 2022 regular session of the Minnesota Legislature adjourned on May 23, 2022, a special later this year is possible

Missouri – Senate Bill 1200 seeks to establish “Pet Breeders Week” in Missouri to recognize the value of responsible and humane breeders and hold public education and other activities to promote responsible breeding in the state.  AKC GR and its state federation support this bill, which had a hearing in the Senate Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee.  The bill has now been incorporated into House Bill 1720 regarding agricultural economic opportunities.  HB 1720 has passed and now goes to the governor.

New Hampshire  SB 368 was filed at the request of the Commissioner for the Department of Agriculture and Markets to address challenges enforcing the licensed pet vendor requirements.  It would provide authority to seize animals maintained by a pet vendor and housed in the licensed portion of a premise if, within 30 days of license revocation, the animals have not been transferred to another person.  AKC GR and NH DOGS raised constitutional issues among other problems at the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources public hearing.  The committee amended bill to establish a hearing officer revolving fund and fines of up to $5,000 for any second or subsequent violation of the pet vendor license laws.  Amended SB 368 passed the Senate in March. The House Environment and Agriculture Committee hosted public hearings where AKC GR and NH DOGS expressed opposition.  Before the committee’s favorable vote, an amendment was adopted striking the $5000 fine increase, and capping the revolving fund at $75,000 which reflects the annual amount of fines already collected.  Further, the amendment establishes administrative fines for anyone transferring a dog, cat or ferret without the health certificate already required by law.

New Hampshire  HB 366 would authorize a court to order psychological evaluation and treatment for animal cruelty caused by animal hoarding disorder. The House Environment and Agriculture Committee held a work session, where AKC GR reviewed recommended changes to the draft. The committee voted to next secure review and input from the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, who is a retired judge. AKC GR participated in that review process and the Chairs are now working on amendments. The bill has been referred to an interim study.

New Hampshire  Representative Gallagher reached out to AKC GR for assistance with his bill, HB 1186.  It would mandate that emergency shelters allow individuals to relocate with their companion animals when ordered to evacuate.  Per NH’s Disaster Animal Response Team, four emergency trailers across the state can be deployed, but significant gaps in the emergency response plan exist.  AKC GR testified in support of the bill’s intent and worked with the committee on an appropriate amendment to require emergency shelters make space for trailers or other pet accommodations on site.  HB 1186, as amended, has passed the House and Senate.  AKC GR submitted a letter of support. The bill is being forwarded to the Governor.

New Hampshire  HB 1327 supported by AKC GR, would include diabetes in the conditions listed for eligibility for a service animal.  The bill passed the House, and AKC GR submitted testimony in support at the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The bill was signed by the Governor as Chapter 26 of the Acts of 2022.

New Jersey – Assembly Bill 1965 seeks to provide for an advocate in cases involving animals, and is a reintroduction of legislation considered in the 2020-2021 legislative session.  Like its predecessor, A.1965 initially featured troublesome findings, which were removed by the Judiciary Committee.  A.1965 was also amended to create a two-year initial term for the program. The bill still fails to explicitly state that animals are to be considered property under New Jersey law.  AKC GR and our representatives in New Jersey, along with allied animal interest groups, continue to oppose A.1965. Click here for more information.

New Jersey – As introduced, Senate Bill 333 sought to prohibit persons convicted of criminal animal cruelty offenses from owning domestic companion animals and from working or volunteering at animal-related enterprises.  AKC expressed deep concerns with section 2 of the bill, which would have allowed a court to order (1) the forfeiture of any animal owned by an animal cruelty offender and (2) the transfer of such animal to the custody of an animal shelter.  In effect, the section failed to protect the property interests of co-owners not in possession of a dog at the time of the offense.  A significantly amended version of S.333 was approved by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee, which addresses AKC’s concerns.

New Jersey – Senate Bill 981 seeks to add troublesome “cost of care” provisions that could be used to erroneously deprive individuals of their property by mandating forfeiture if they fail to pay assessed costs for care of seized animals, regardless of whether the individual is found not guilty.  Despite conflicts with provisions in amended S.333, the bill was approved unamended by the Senate; and has been assigned to the Assembly Agriculture and Food Security Committee.  AKC GR and our representatives in New Jersey continue to work with sponsors of the legislation to address concerns.

New York – A.4283/S.1130, opposed by AKC, would prohibit retail pet stores from selling any dogs or cats. Instead, they would only be allowed to “showcase” animals available for adoption from a shelter, rescue, or adoption agency that has no affiliation with breeders. As such, they would no longer be required to provide background information on the dogs or provide consumer protection for sales. The bills also imply that reputable breeders should not be involved in rescue work.  In 2021, AKC issued numerous alerts, submitted written testimony, had meetings with lawmakers, and submitted op-eds in opposition.  The bills passed the Senate and two Assembly Committees, but were ultimately held in the Assembly Rules Committee.  In 2022, the bills were reintroduced.  AKC GR met with the Senate bill sponsor and staff for the Senate Agriculture Chair to discuss concerns and issued numerous letters and alerts in opposition.  S. 1130 has passed the Senate and A. 4283 is pending a vote by the full Assembly.  Read more.

New York  Assembly Bill 9284 and Senate Bill 8315 would further expand and clarify the new law prohibiting insurance companies from denying or canceling coverage based solely on the breed of dog owned by the homeowner.  These bills would state that insurance companies may not raise premiums for homeowners insurance based solely on the breed of dog at the home.  AKC supports these bills, which have each passed their respective chambers.  Read more.

New York – S. 1125 would ban “debarking” unless it is medically necessary to treat an illness, injury or congenital defect.  AKC opposes this bill, which limits the ability for owners to make medical decisions in conjunction with their veterinarian, and also can keep dogs in loving homes rather than forcing owners to relinquish pets to shelters.  Due to a last minute procedural move, the bill bypassed committees and is pending a vote by the full Senate. Read more.

New York – A. 5746 seeks to prohibit “killing contests”.  As written, it contains exemptions requested by the AKC for canine performance events and training.  The bill has passed the Assembly Codes Committee and is pending a vote by the full Assembly. 

New York  A. 6246 seeks to further regulate animal shelters, including licensing, inspections, and standards of care for animals.  It also mandates a 48 hour quarantine for all dogs imported into the state for sale, as well as a rabies vaccination for all dogs over three months of age.  Dogs temporarily in the state for exhibition are exempt, so long as they are under the control of their owner or handler and have proof of rabies vaccination.  The bill has passed committees and is pending a vote by the full Assembly.  Its companion bill S. 6870 has also passed committees, and is pending a vote by the full Senate.

New York S. 8973 clarifies that if a stray dog is picked up, it can be returned to the owner if the dog is properly licensed.  The owner will be determined as the name and address associated with the license.  The bill passed the Senate Agriculture Committee on May 10 and is pending a vote by the full Senate.

New York – S. 7911/A. 7155 allow for animals to be released from a shelter to a rescue prior to euthanasia, with exceptions.  Exceptions include animals with “irremediable suffering”, serious physical injury, or a history of unprovoked biting.  The bills are pending in their respective Agriculture Committees.

New York – Senate Bill 8973/Assembly Bill 9296 clarify laws requiring animal control and police officers to seize dogs not on the owner’s property and are not identified or licensed, or pose a threat to public safety.  These bills would allow the officer to return any dog with a current license to the owner if there is no probable cause that the dog is dangerous.  The dog may be returned to the owner of record at the address provided on the license.  Assembly Bill 9296 passed the Assembly and is pending in the Senate Agriculture Committee. S. 8973 is pending a vote by the full Senate.

Oklahoma – SB1223, supported by AKC, would make it a misdemeanor for anyone without a disability or anyone that is not trained to assist those with a disability to misrepresent an animal as a service dog to gain special treatment or benefits. The bill was passed by the Oklahoma Senate in February and was a substitute bill was recently passed from the House Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee. The substituted bill still contained the service animal provision supported by AKC but it also contains unrelated amendments. The bill is awaiting a House floor vote.

Oregon – Animal rights activists have been collecting signatures to put a measure on the November 2022 ballot that would essentially ban all hunting, prohibit certain breeding practices including artificial insemination, and restrict training practices. Other provisions would dramatically impact farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and even pest control.  The initiative was pulled for 2022 and is now being put forward for the 2024 ballot as IP 3.  AKC is working with two broad coalitions to oppose the measure. AKC GR has also joined the new Oregon Sportsmen Conservation Partnership to discuss legislative solutions to protect performance events and hunting in the state.  Read more.

Pennsylvania – House Bill 2047 will enhance the punishments for breeders who abuse animals and make it more difficult for them to game the system when they lose their licenses.  The bill would change the first violation for the mistreatment of dogs under their care from a summary offense to a misdemeanor. The maximum fine would also double. Additionally, the legislation would prevent any immediate family member of the offender from obtaining a license as well as anyone who resides at the same residence.  The bill has been referred to the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.  AKC GR will continue to monitor the bill, which is not scheduled for a hearing.

Pennsylvania  HB 142 would exempt certain Dog Law revenues from being transferred into a separate account. Since 1988, all fines, fees and costs collected by the Pennsylvania judicial system in excess of the amount collected from the same sources during Fiscal Year 1986-87 are deposited into the Judicial Computer System Augmentation Account. This includes certain monies that would otherwise be used to fund operations of the Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement. The Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement has been operating at a deficit because the licensing fees it receives do not generate enough revenue to fund operations. HB 142 would exempt from transfer approximately $200,000/year in fines, court fees and costs received under the Dog Law. HB 142 passed the House and is now in the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. 

Pennsylvania  HB 526 / SB 232 are reintroductions of legislation from last session that seek to increase dog license fees to provide additional funding for the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement. As proposed, the legislation changes the dog licensing requirement from 12 age weeks to 8 weeks but eliminates differentiation between intact and spayed/neutered dogs. AKC GR and the Pennsylvania Federation of Dog Clubs met with the Bureau director regarding the proposed legislation. AKC GR was recently contacted regarding alternate language for the licensing requirement and recommended that it be kept at the current three months of age or older or upon transfer to a new owner, whichever comes first.  Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement and the bill sponsors have indicated that they agree to the change.  Both bills are in their respective chamber’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.  AKC GR will continue the monitor these bills.

Pennsylvania  SB 234 seeks to establish a retail pet store ban in favor of showcasing shelter and rescue dogs for adoption. AKC GR met with the Senate staff to discuss the legislation and offer better alternatives than an outright ban. In both the meeting and follow up, AKC GR encouraged the sponsors to introduce enhanced consumer protection legislation that provides consumers with better information and protection irrespective of the source of dogs, including rescues and shelters which are currently exempt. AKC GR will continue to monitor the bill, which is pending in committee and likely will not be scheduled for a hearing or any committee action in the foreseeable future.

Pennsylvania  SB 907 would establish the Animal Welfare Board to review existing state laws and regulations related to the keeping and handling of animals. The Board is to be comprised of individuals representing various stakeholder organizations and representatives from the PA Department of Agriculture and the Attorney General’s office.  Due to several meetings and conversations with the sponsor’s office, the board will also include a representative from the American Kennel Club, the Pennsylvania Federation of Dog Clubs, and Northeast Beagle Gundog Federation.  The bill passed the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee in April and awaits action by the full Senate.  AKC GR will continue to work to encourage the Majority Leader to bring the bill up for a full vote by the Senate.

Rhode Island – S. 2443 would authorize forfeiture of any animal seized by the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA) if the defendant is found guilty and fails to reimburse RISPCA within 30 days for the boarding and care of animals held pending court proceedings.  AKC GR issued an alert noting the lack of protections for one who is found innocent and testified on April 27 before the Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture requesting amendments.  The committee proposed and adopted an amended S. 2443 responding to AKC concerns and the Senate passed the amended bill on May 17.

Rhode Island – S. 2227 and H. 7678 have been re-filed for consideration this session.  The bills would authorize the court to appoint a student attorney or pro bono attorney in any civil or criminal case to represent an animal in the interests of justice.  AKC GR and the Rhode Island ACLU are in opposition.  HB 7678 had a public hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on March 10 and AKC GR and the Rhode Island kennel clubs expressed opposition given it would change the property legal status of animals and provide non-human legal rights instead. H. 7678 has been held for further study.  On May 12, the Senate Judiciary scheduled S. 2227 for public hearing and AKC testified in opposition on a panel with RI ACLU.  This bill has also been held for further study.

Rhode Island  H. 6624 would establish an animal abuser registry that requires pet sellers to check the registry prior to transfer and face penalties for transferring an animal to a convicted abuser on the registry.  This bill is a re-filed measure that AKC GR has previously expressed concerns with and did again to the House Judiciary Committee in early 2022.  It has been held for further study.  A Senate companion bill, S. 2701 had a public hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 12 and AKC testified in opposition on a panel with RI ACLU.  This bill has been held for further study.

Rhode Island   H. 7021 would authorize the emergency treatment and transport of a police K9 injured in the line of duty.  AKC GR supports this bill.  AKC GR issued an alert requesting support before the public hearing by the House Health and Human Services Committee.  The committee added stakeholders to assist with establishing policies and procedures and passed H. 7021 as amended.  AKC GR issued an alert in support and the bill passed the House on May 3, 2022.

Rhode Island  H. 7088 would amend the district courts’ domestic violence protections to include pets in protection orders.  We applaud this effort, particularly given the complex dilemma involving pets and domestic violence situations.  However, AKC GR is concerned about the use of the word “custody” in H. 7088 and recommended that the House Judiciary Committee reserve this legal term for children only.  The bill has been held for further study.

Rhode Island   H. 7087 would create a court procedure for pets in divorce and separation proceedings based on the best interests of the animal.   Long-standing legal traditions in the United States provide that pets are considered the legal property of their owners, under which their care and treatment is ensured.  Last session, AKC GR worked with the bill sponsor to amend the predecessor bill by replacing “custody” with “possession or ownership”.  AKC GR testified in support of H. 7087 and the Committee voted that it ought to pass.  The House passed H. 7087 and it was sent to Senate Judiciary committee for review.

Rhode Island  H. 7305 would add the general agent of the Rhode Island society for the prevention of cruelty to animals and any special agents appointed by the society while enforcing any of the laws of this state in relation to cruelty of animals to the definition of peace officers.  This is to clarify the role of these agents and AKC GR will monitor the bill. The bill had a hearing and has been held for further study.

Rhode Island  H. 7572 is a re-filed bill that would prohibit a person convicted of killing an animal or of unnecessary cruelty to animals amounting to torture from owning or exercising control of an animal for life.  Violators would be subject to a fine of one thousand dollars ($1000) for each violation. The House Judiciary held a public hearing. The bill has been held for further study.

Rhode Island  H. 7573 would create a legal process by which formerly cohabitating parties could seek from the district court a determination as to ownership of any pet.  Because it would change the legal status of animals as property, AKC GR opposes HB 7573 and submitted written testimony for the House Judiciary public hearing. The bill has been held for further study.

Rhode Island  H. 7785 would authorize the director of the department of environmental management to establish quarantine zones for animals and would permit the examination of any quarantined animal therein.  AKC GR submitted testimony in support of the measure for the public hearing by the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.  The bill was reported favorably and passed by the House on March 17 before being sent to the Senate Environment and Agriculture Committee AKC GR submitted testimony in support when the Senate Committee received public testimony on S. 2751, identical to H. 7785. S. 2751 passed the Senate on May 3.

Rhode Island  H. 7573 would create a legal process by which formerly cohabitating parties could seek from the district court a determination as to ownership of any pet.  Because it would change the legal status of animals as property, AKC GR opposes HB 7573.  The bill has been held for further study.

Rhode Island  S. 2121 is intended to protect the welfare of animals left unattended in motor vehicles by expanding law enforcement officers’ current authority to rescue an animal in distress.  If enacted, an officer would have the authority to maintain custody of the animal for 72 hours or until a court hearing was scheduled where the court may refuse to return custody of the animal to the owner.  AKC GR submitted testimony for the March 29 public hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee expressing concerns that, as written, the bill violates due process protections governing personal property.  The bill has been held for further study.

Rhode Island  S. 2651 was filed to ban the import of large animals into the state for canned hunting activities by defining and prohibiting “captive hunting”.  The definition expressly excludes the release of upland game birds for hunting, but AKC GR and the Northeast Beagle Gundog Federation have concerns that the text may unintentionally harm lawful beagle training and field trials with rabbits.  Both AKC GR and the Federation submitted testimony with a recommendation to also expressly exclude these activities in the text of S. 2651 for the Senate Judiciary hearing.  The bill has been held for further study.

South Carolina  H 3066 seeks to increase penalties for teasing, injuring or killing a police dog or horse. It has been referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary. This bill could be considered in 2022, the second year of South Carolina’s two-year session.

South Carolina  H 3067 seeks to require that any second violation of the Chapter on Cruelty to Animals, which includes violations under which no animal is harmed, would require forfeiture of ownership of all animals and a prohibition from owning an animal for five years. H 3067 has been referred to the House Committee on Judiciary. This bill could be considered in 2022, the second year of South Carolina’s two-year session.

South Carolina  S 186 would remove certain exemptions for hunting dogs under state cruelty laws while protecting the use of recognized and responsible training techniques and devices. S 186 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

South Carolina  S 378 would increase penalties for teasing or injuring police dogs and horses, and provide that a person convicted must pay restitution for costs of restoring or replacing a police animal and complete 500 hours of community service. S 378 passed in the Senate and has been referred to the House Committee on Judiciary.

South Carolina  S 556 seeks to make changes to certain laws that govern trapping in the state. As introduced, this bill could have increased hazards for dogs whose owners participate in field trials, Coonhound events, hunting, and training for these sports, as well as hiking, wilderness camping, and other outdoor activities with dogs. The bill was favorably amended in committee to address certain concerns. It passed in the Senate and was referred to the House Committee on Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs. Read AKC GR’s alert on S 556 as it was originally introduced.

Tennessee HB 1646 / SB 2013 seek to make it an offense to knowingly and unlawfully cause serious bodily injury to or kill a police dog, fire dog, search and rescue dog, service animal, or police horse without the owner’s effective consent. AKC GR supports this legislation, which continues to advance. SB 2013 has passed both chambers and awaits the Governor’s signature.

Tennessee HB 1967 / HB 1778 sought to provide that a county or municipality shall not adopt, enact, or enforce rules, regulations, resolutions, or ordinances relating to a specific breed of domesticated animal. While AKC GR supports this legislation in principle, concerns were communicated that the bill was captioned to allow amendments that could affect eight sections of state law. This legislation did not receive committee hearings and died at end of session.

Tennessee  HB 547 / SB 511 would have required any person who, during a twelve-month period, possesses or maintains ten or more intact female adult dogs for the primary purpose of selling their offspring as household pets, to register with the Department of Commerce and Insurance. Registrants would be subject to inspections biennially and at the discretion of the commissioner, and rules and fees would be set by the commission. Registrants could not participate in organized or home-based dog rescue activities. AKC GR worked with sportsmen’s groups to oppose the bill, distributed information and talking points at Nashville-area dog shows, and met with key Senators prior to committee consideration. The bill was sent to “General Sub” in the Senate Energy, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Committee, which means it was put “on hold” and died at end of session.

Tennessee  HB 1322 / SB 948 would have required law enforcement agencies to annually report statistics and policies regarding police canine units to the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) commission and require the POST commission to develop and implement state guidelines for the training, care, and use of police canine units for law enforcement purposes. AKC GR monitored this legislation, which died in committee.

Tennessee –  HB 2034 / SB 2305 addressed tethering a dog. Problematic amendments sought to delete several performance exceptions that allow for safety tethering a dog, including while hunting, in a public recreational area, or during agricultural activities. HB 2034 remains in the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. SB 2305 failed in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Tennessee  SB 1788, failed in the Senate Judiciary Committee. This bill would have enacted engineering standards and additional vague requirements for shelter for dogs, and would have made some responsible dog owners’ effective and humane care practices illegal.  Read more about why AKC opposed SB 1788 as introduced.

Tennessee  HB 2860 / SB 2243 sought to make it an offense for a person to restrain a dog with a tether or similar device when a severe flooding or tornado warning, or a mandatory or voluntary evacuation order, is in effect for the geographic area where the dog is located. The bills, as introduced, were written so broadly that they could increase the risk of harm to a dog by prohibiting a person from “restraining” their dog to keep it close by in conjunction with preparation to evacuate or during an evacuation with the dog. Amendments were offered that address some, but not all concerns. SB 2243 failed in the House.

Vermont   SB 155 would reorganize public safety services within the Executive Branch and create the Agency of Public Safety to oversee functions, including provision of administrative support to the Animal Cruelty Investigation Advisory Board.  Last session, Vermont charged this board with providing training and certification to animal control officers in the state.  Before releasing the bill favorably, the Senate Government Operations Committee amended SB 155 and included a requirement that state agencies review domestic animal welfare oversight responsibilities and make recommendations for legislation to ensure public health and safety.  AKC GR and the Vermont Federation of Dog Clubs support this work and an alert was issued.  SB 155 as amended was passed by the Senate and was sent to the House Government Operations Committee.  AKC GR submitted a letter of support.  With no action in the House on SB 155, the Senate moved on May 3 to amend HB 729 with text establishing the animal welfare protections and unification of government functions and the bill was then sent to the House Judiciary Committee for acceptance.  The amendment text can be viewed on page 4187 of the Senate’s May 3 calendar, posted here.  AKC GR issued this alert requesting emails in support to the House Judiciary Committee, which made minor changes to the text and sent it back to the full Senate.  The Senate unanimously concurred with these changes on May 10.  The bill now goes to the governor.  Read more.

Vermont  HB 250 would impose a strict liability standard for injury caused by domestic dogs. More than 30 states have this standard.  The House Committee on Judiciary is reviewing the measure.

Vermont  HB 622 would require the Office of Professional Regulation to license service dog trainers that provide service dog training services to individuals with a disability.  AKC GR is monitoring this bill.

Vermont SB 129  proposes to transfer the authority to adopt rules for the taking of fish, wildlife, and fur-bearing animals from the Fish and Wildlife Board to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. It would also amend the authority of the Fish and Wildlife Board so that it serves in an advisory capacity only, to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.  This bill was carried over from last year and has resulted in considerable debate by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy.  Sporting and hunting stakeholders are concerned these changes weaken the role of board appointees representing counties from across the state.  AKC is monitoring the bill.